Contrary to project objectives that aim at external systems (settings), quality objectives aim at processes and structures within the project and at the interface between the project and other systems (e.g. the responsible institution, public, settings). Quality objectives anticipate necessary or desirable improvements in these areas. The first stage for formulating quality objectives is the identification of weak points. Are there processes or structures that could - when seen from a quality perspective - compromise the achievement of the project objectives? Which quality criteria must be applied to this project and is there potential for improvement? Examples:
- Motivation of the project team
- Qualifications of the project leader
- Team dynamics and conflict management
- Image of the project (with the client, the public)
- Insufficient resources
The demands for quality objectives are the same as for project objectives. If they are to be useful they must be formulated in a smartway, i.e. be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited.
Why you would disregard these aspects
- You presume that you and your team are already working to the best of your abilities.
- You are completely satisfied with the way the project is handled.
- You are aware of the weak points and know how to manage them without having to name them explicitly.
- You do not believe you have enough time for an exhaustive analysis.
- You do not believe you have enough time for measures aiming at quality improvement.
What you have to gain
By formulating and stating quality objectives with your team you associate the team members with the process of quality improvement (and therefore make a step in the direction of cultivating quality within your project). To define quality objectives can increase the collaborators' motivation because self-evaluation brings personal success to light.
What you can actually do
- Starting from an analysis of the weak points of your project define priority quality objectives
- Define indicators for the achievement of objectives
- Decide on a strategy to achieve these goals
- Define the necessary operational measures (including deadlines and responsibilities).
- Determine how and when you will control the achievement of your quality objectives
Examples of quality objectives
- Roles and duties in the project team are clearly defined by the date of the first milestone meeting (1st April 2002).
- For the second phase of training (May-October 2001), work required to recruit instructors/teachers has decreased by half.
Questions for critical reflection
- Are the strengths and weaknesses of the project known?
- Have quality objectives been set for the priority areas of the project?